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Second-Born Syndrome : The Struggle is Real

My spicy little second-born. I don’t even know where to start.

I have been struggling lately with the events and activities and ‘things’ my second-born misses out on. Simply because she is just that. The second-born.

Before my second was born, I always would giggle when I heard mom-friends, who had multiple children, say things like “just wait until there are two,” or “ehh you will never do that with your second-born.” I called them liars under my breath as I sipped on my coffee and gave a little smile. What are they talking about? Of course I will take my second-born to every Thursday  morning library time with Miss Melissa. Duh. I will definitely partake in endless Pinterest inspired crafts and alphabet related projects. It is a no-brainer that I will sit and review flashcards with her while also teaching her the phonics song. Ugh. Mom fail.

Second born syndrome. A term I am sure was invented long ago by a brood of moms who realized it is real, came to my mind last week while sitting and working at a local coffee shop with a friend. We were chatting about our strong-willed second borns, and ran into another mom friend, who jokingly mentioned how her third-born (equal to our second-born – aka the baby) is mainly her ‘errand runner’. Yup. At that second I declared I would write a blog post about this. And here I am.

Any time when I have only one child, versus both, is when errands becomes the priority. Balancing life itself requires lots of hats to juggle, lots of time slots to work in and out of, and lots of flexibility. Unfortunately, sometimes this juggling game trumps (events like) library time, and then mom guilt kicks in. Why? It may seem foolish to some, because yes I know, my second-born will still thrive in school and be an upstanding citizen without the weekly influence of our local library, but still. I compare and contrast my time with my first born to that spent with my second-born. Then the mom spiral begins. I haul my spicy second-born to every Target, Kroger, Trader Joes and Costco trip that we can fit into the 2.5 hours when my sweet first-born is in preschool. Errands have trumped library for months. The struggle is real. The guilt sets in. The mom brain soon succumbs to the mom heart and then I feel all the feels.

Then I sit back and I think. I realize that each kiddo is experiencing life and activities in different ways. My first born was a library loving fool, my second born demands pushing the mini-shopping cart and picking out groceries.  My first born knew her letters way early, my second born knew entire lyrics to songs at age 2. My first born hysterically-eased into activities that involved separating from me, my second-born doesn’t look back when I take her to her classroom at our weekly Bible study. Perhaps I should reword the first statement in this post, my second-born isn’t missing out on a thing. She is experiencing life differently. All of us who have siblings have had the same experience. Tis life. Tis adventure. Perhaps, though, I am comparing in an effort to not feel guilt, because mom guilt is real friends, regardless of all the memes that tell us to just brush it under the rug. I myself believe wholeheartedly in the Teddy Roosevelt quote “Comparison is the thief of joy,” and yet it is so difficult to live by. I look at what I did and did not do, what I am and what I am not doing, with my second born versus my first born, more often then not. The struggle is real.

My first born heads off to Kindergarten in a few months. Who knows. I may be writing a first born syndrome post soon after, thinking of all the would haves and could haves with her. Its ironic how the “woulds and coulds” take over my brain and I automatically forget all the “haves and wills.” Life is too short for mom guilt, for second-born syndrome, and for the mom battles many of us impose on ourselves. Maybe for you it isn’t second-born syndrome, but rather “no time to cook syndrome” or “sit my kids in front of the TV for sanity syndrome.” No worries. I’m not judging. We all have syndromes we are dealing with, battling with, and needing to just let go of. LET IT GO MAMA. Let’s let them go together.

All I know is that I am mothering, and living, and working, and breathing, and praising, and attempting not to give into the mom-brain-of-guilt. I am trying to be present in the here and now, I am loving my kids and my husband and I am enjoying all of our experiences together – and quite honestly, someday I know I will genuinely miss the special time second-born and I have together at Trader Joes, nearly every Tuesday before ballet, when she chooses between chocolate or regular animal crackers at the sample table. She loves it. I love it. It is no library time, but it is our time.

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3 Responses to Second-Born Syndrome : The Struggle is Real

  1. Audrey April 14, 2017 at 7:41 am #

    Love this!

    For me, firstborn is a son and second born is a daughter. It’s this weird phenomenon because this struggle goes both ways! Yes, to all the fun firstborn mommy and me activities you mentioned, but now does second born get more of my “good” time because she’s a girl? Pedicures and shopping trips together are a regular thing. My son’s interests are vastly different than mine, so there aren’t the same opportunities for activities together anymore.

    Ugh. I hate Mom guilt! I’m not really a believer in “parenting fails” the way people label them. We are all just doing our best. But that darn guilt still creeps up on me sometimes.

    • stephanie April 14, 2017 at 8:39 am #

      Audrey..what an awesome perspective relative to opposite sex siblings! so many can relate to that combination! and i hear ya, no parenting fails, i call them parenting curves 🙂 have a great day and thanks for tuning in to DMB! please share the post and the site!

  2. Suzanne Hines April 15, 2017 at 2:50 pm #

    I totally agree with this! I have second-born syndrome, too.
    I always remind myself of how much more my second born is experiencing the world by watching his older sister! So much stimuli that my first born didn’t have…what did we do all day when she only had me to look at? haha!